Most vegetable dishes are best when prepared with fresh ingredients. I love corn chowder, however fresh local corn is not available in New England until late summer. Luckily, this delicious recipe calls for frozen corn, so I make it at any time of the year (I use name-brand sweet corn). Yesterday was a beautiful spring day, which got me in the mood again for this chowder. I hope you’ll try it!
1/2 lb red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into a 1/4-inch dice
2 slices hickory-smoked bacon, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and pale green parts (slice dark green part and use as garnish)
1/2 cup celery, chopped (about 1 large rib)
1 lb frozen corn
2 1/4 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 fresh baguette
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Place potatoes in a sauce pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender, but not falling apart. Total time from when you turn the heat on should be about 15 minutes. Strain and set aside.
Heat bacon in a Dutch oven. Cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan (leaving drippings behind) and set aside.
Add the scallions and celery to the pan, and saute on low for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, set 1 cup of the corn aside. Place remainder into a blender, together with the milk, sour cream, oregano, salt and pepper. Blend to a puree, then add to the scallion mixture in the Dutch oven. Add the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and season with additional salt and ground black pepper.
To prepare the croutons, slice baguette cross-wise into 1/4-inch slices. Lay the slices out on a cookie sheet, and spread the top of each with a good amount of Dijon mustard. Place under the broiler and cook until golden brown (not black!)
Garnish each serving of the chowder with the some of the bacon, sliced scallions and cheddar cheese. Serve with the croutons.